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Thoughts from the Road, by Juliana Smith

This past weekend an aunt and uncle of mine celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. When we woke early Saturday to make the trip, my handy-dandy rain gauge told me we had already received somewhere around five to six inches of rain. (OK. it’s not really a rain gauge, more of an empty bucket, but the weatherman backed me up on the numbers.) With all that rain, it was decided that my husband would stay home on sump-pump duty while my daughter and I made the trek to Cleveland. While I was on the road, several parallels came to mind and I tucked them away to share with you this week.

One of the first things that occurred to me during the long drive was that our ancestors didn’t always travel together either. Don’t dismiss that passenger list entry, simply because you don’t see the entire family on the manifest. It may have been a case of chain migration, with one or both parents immigrating alone, and the children following later—perhaps all at once, or maybe a few at a time. The family may have wanted to get established in their new home, or perhaps they had to wait until they could afford to send for the remainder of the family.

Geographical and Natural Barriers
So back to my travels. We left in the pouring rain, hoping to pass it by, but in the end we drove for five and a half hours in a non-stop monsoon. So the ride home had to be better, right? Nope. It started out nicely enough, but Hurricane Ike met me at the Indiana state line and let’s just say that my fingerprints are now firmly embedded in my steering wheel! Then to top it off, as we were nearing home, my husband called to inform me that 1-80/94, which was the main route home, was closed due to flooding. So I had to take a roundabout detour, which landed me in one of the many construction zones that sprout up in the summer months.

As I sat in traffic in the land of orange cones, I was reminded that our ancestors were also forced to take detours. While the nearest town to your great-grandparents’ farm may have only been a mile away, rough terrain, or steep mountains may have made it more convenient for your ancestor to travel ten or twenty miles in the other direction to do business or attend church. Perhaps that’s where you’ll find records of the family in church records, court records, probates, land records, naturalizations, and other locally created records. Continue reading

Using ‘My Tree’ Hints at Ancestry, by Michael John Neill

Earlier this month, I wrote about using an obituary located on Ancestry and the research clues and future research suggestions I was able to extract from it. This week, I took my findings a step further and experimented with the automated search feature of the “My Trees” tool at Ancestry, creating a new tree for Conrad Krebs using only the information I had gleaned from his obituary.
Three of the “hints” Ancestry found were records I had located previously on this family. The nice thing about Ancestry locating these “hints” for me was that adding them to a person in my tree was relatively easy and the source information was added along with the records, saving me an important step.
Even though I had located these records previously, I still looked at the images to make sure that they were in fact for the correct records. Just because it looks right in the index doesn’t mean that it is not just a similar entry, so don’t ever attach records to a person in your tree without first viewing them for confirmation.

This is what I had found:

  • 1854 Passenger manifest (the Juventa, arriving in New York on 19 June 1854 
  • 1870 Census for Davenport, Scott County, Iowa 
  • 1880 Census for Davenport, Scott County, Iowa

Tip for Attaching Records
When you’re attaching a record to a person, make certain you chose the option (in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen) to “show advanced options.” This should be done to ensure that you attach the information in a way that is accurate. In my database entry for Conrad Krebs, I had a birth date of 7 October 1818 in Goldbach, Bavaria. The census enumerations all provided an age for Conrad and a birthplace in Bavaria (obtained from his obituary). Neither census provided that specific detail.
Since the records provided an age and birthplace, they could be used as sources for Conrad’s date and place of birth. However, they should not be used as a source for the birth date of 7 Oct 1818 in Goldbach as neither provides that exact piece of information. What I needed to do was add 1818 in Bavaria as an alternate date and place of birth from the census enumeration. When attaching the census and manifest to Conrad, I chose to “view advanced options” on the “Review and save changes to your family tree” page in order to do this. That way I could add an alternate fact for the birth and the place based upon the census data. Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Recording County Names, from George G. Morgan

When recording information about the locations where births, deaths, marriages, divorces, land and property transactions, wills, and other events occurred, it is essential to include the name of the county, parish, province, shire, state, or other geopolitical jurisdiction at the time the event was recorded. Inclusion of a county name, for example, points other researchers to the right place when they want to verify your research and access the records for themselves. Most genealogical software programs will also prompt you to repeat this practice as you record future sources. Along with entering correct source citations, this diligence in recording precise geopolitical jurisdiction information is the mark of a scholarly researcher.

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Your Quick Tips, 22 September 2008

Look at Alternate Names
Recently I was searching census records for a relative. I had found him in the 1910 and 1930 census in the same location, but I could not find him in the 1920 census. I tried several different tactics, using common misspellings for his last name, Soundex, searching by birth year, first name, etc, but without luck.

I searched on the last name again. This time, among the results at Ancestry, I noticed another family with the same last name. For that family alternate names were listed, the correct spelling and also an incorrect spelling from either the original census taker or the transcriber. This misspelling was one I had never seen before. I redid my search using that misspelling and bingo, there was the person I was looking for! His last name has never been corrected with an alternate name for this census.

In the future I will pay more attention to the alternate names for other similarly named.

Joan Continue reading

The Year Was 1833

Chicago 1833 and 1883.bmpThe year was 1833 and with the growth of the Industrial Revolution, child labor abuses were coming to the attention of reformers. In England, the Factory Act of 1833 prohibited child worker under the age of nine and reduced the hours of children aged nine to thirteen to nine hours per day. Older children aged thirteen to eighteen were only allowed to work twelve-hour days. It also prohibited them from working between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. and required two hours of schooling in the day. However, this legislation was limited to the textiles and manufacturing industry “wherein steam or water or any other mechanical power is or shall be used to propel or work the machinery,” and only four inspectors were appointed to oversee all of the factories in England.

Another significant piece of legislation in Britain that year was the Slavery Abolition Act. The slave trade had been abolished in 1807, but the Slavery Abolition Act abolished slavery throughout British colonies, provided for the apprenticeship of freed slaves, and compensated former slave owners. 

The Abolitionist movement was beginning to gain momentum in the U.S. as well, with the formation of the American Anti-Slavery Society under the leadership of William Lloyd Garrison. Auxiliary societies under its banner grew to include between 150,000 and 200,000 people by 1840.

Many women took to the abolitionist cause. Some, like Prudence Crandall went further than joining the societies that were forming. Prudence operated a school for young ladies, and when an African American child, Sarah Harris, came to her and asked to be admitted so that she could teach other African American children, Prudence allowed her to attend. The move outraged the town of Canterbury and she responded by inviting more African American children to attend her school, establishing a school “for young Ladies and little Misses of color.”(1) She was eventually jailed for violating the recently passed “Black Law” which prohibited such establishments. Sarah Harris and several other students of Prudence Crandall went on to become teachers. Continue reading

Photo Corner, 22 September 2008

20080922MaraCuba.bmpContributed by Jeanne Connell 
This is a photo of my grandmother’s brother, Thomas F. Mara, taken in Cuba. He enlisted in the army on 20 June 1899 and served in the 8th Cavalry, Troop M until 8 June 1902. He was thrown from a hay wagon at Fort Riley, Kansas and never fully recovered. He died in 1916 at the age of 38.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

20080922mail.bmpContributed by Shirley Atkinson
This is Frederick William Clark. He was a mail carrier in Detroit, Michigan, from ca. 1890 to 1910.

Family Tree Maker 2009 Now Available

FTM2009.bmpFamily Tree Maker 2009 is now available and users of FTM 2008 are eligible for a free upgrade. There are quite a few new features, including the ability to track and print your ancestors’ migration paths on interactive maps, six new charts, improvements in data manipulation, and much more. You can read all the details on the Ancestry blog.

FTM 2008 users should receive an e-mail with details on the free upgrade by mid-October. If you’re new to Family Tree Maker or have an older version and would like to purchase FTM 2009, you can buy it now in the Ancestry Store.